How revolutionary was Reconstruction? It is important to note that the focus of this essay is not whether or not Reconstruction was revolutionary but rather to what extent it was. This presumption asserts a unique interpretation on the revolutionary debate around Reconstruction. To answer this question historians have argued over political, economic, agrarian, gendered and racial revolutions throughout and following Reconstruction. This essay will discuss the longue durée of reconstruction with a focus on race, immigration and agriculture. It is also crucial to examine how revolutionary the concept of reconstruction was to nineteenth century American politics. The reactionary consequences of Reconstruction were not limited purely to the South …show more content…
The lack of directive for rights of freedmen resulted in an incomplete upheaval of slavery. Foner argues that ‘freedmen did not receive the American ideal of equal citizenship’. The adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868 as part of the Reconstruction Amendments attempted to resolve this discrepancy however political manipulation in the southern states as well as poor immigration management added, in small part, to the failure of reconstruction. Foner discusses the concept of Reconstruction as one that is constantly changing and representative of a larger political revolution. He calls it ‘one of the most violent, dramatic and controversial’ periods of United States history and while that might be the case it was also one of the most enlightening. It highlights socio-political and economic concerns that are still evident in contemporary society. Immigration and racial equality are by no means concerns that are without resolution today but they are issues in society in which we are able to compare to past failures. There are long term patterns that have persisted following reconstruction. The Freedman’s Bureau, Jim Crow, Black Codes and the Civil Rights movement, these all proceeded from or were a part of reconstruction. The revolutionary nature of Reconstruction was not in its implementation but rather in its ideology. This was a nationwide awareness and lawful application of Black emancipation. The success or failure of Reconstruction does not detract from its revolutionary ideals. It is important to recognise the fundamental affect Reconstruction had in a historical
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As an unabridged version of his other book, Eric Foner sets out to accomplish four main goals in A Short History of Reconstruction. These points enable the author to provide a smaller, but not neglectful, account of the United States during Reconstruction. By exploring the essence of the black experience, examining the ways in which Southern society evolved, the development of racial attitudes and race relations, and the complexities of race and class in the postwar South, as well as the emergence during the Civil War and Reconstruction of a national state possessing vastly expanded authority and a new set of purposes, Foner creates a narrative that encompasses some of the major issues during Reconstruction. Additionally, the author provides
The Civil War era divided the United States of America to a point that many Americans did not foresee as plausible throughout the antebellum period. Generating clear divisions in even the closest of homes, the era successfully turned businessmen, farmers, fathers, sons, and even brothers into enemies. Many historians would concur that the Reconstruction Era ushered in a monumental turning point in the nation’s history. The common rhetoric of what the Reconstruction Era was like according to historians is that it was a euphoric era. Those same historians often write about the Reconstruction Era as a time of optimism and prosperity for African Americans. Attempting to illustrate the era in a favorable light, they often emphasize the fact that African Americans had gotten the emancipation that they were fighting for and they were free to create a future for themselves. Jim Downs, author of Sick From Freedom African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction, is not like those historians at all. Downs takes a completely different approach in his book. He asserts that both the Civil War Era and
The thesis “The New View of Reconstruction”, Eric Foner reviews the constantly changing view on the subject of the Reconstruction. The postwar Reconstruction period has been viewed in many different lights throughout history but one fact remains true, that it was one of the most “violent, dramatic and controversial” times in US’s history (224). In the beginning of his thesis, Eric Foner talks about the way the Reconstruction was though as before the 1960 as a period of intense, corruption and manipulation of the freedman. After mentioning the old way of thinking before the 1960’s, Eric Foner reveals the reason for this train of thought, the ignored testimonials of the black freedman.
After a war that claimed the lives of more men than that of all other wars combined, much of the country was left in ruins, literally and figuratively. Dozens of towns in the South had been burned to the ground. Meanwhile, the relations between the North and South had crumbled to pieces. Something needed to be done so that the country could once again be the United States of America, not the Divided States of America. The years from 1865 to 1877 were a time of rebuilding – the broken communities and the broken relations. This time period was known as Reconstruction. Reconstruction was a failure on the basis that the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments that were passed should have given protection and freedom to the African American people, instead, it actually hurt them because the laws were not enforced, and eventually lead to the organization of white supremacy terrorist groups.
The social history regarding reconstruction has been of great controversy for the last two decades in America. Several wars that occurred in America made reconstruction efforts to lag behind. Fundamental shortcomings of the reconstruction were based on racism, politics, capitalism and social relations. The philosophy was dominant by the people of South under the leadership of Lincoln. Lincoln plans were projected towards bringing the states from the South together as one nation. However, the efforts of the Activist were faded by the intrusion of the Republicans from the North. Northerners were capitalists and disapproved the ideas that Lincoln attempted to spread in the South (Foner Par 2).
As a country, America has gone through many political changes throughout her lifetime. Leaders have come and gone, all of them having different objectives and plans for the future. As history takes its course, though, most all of these “revolutionary movements” come to an end. One such movement was Reconstruction. Reconstruction was a time period in America consisting of many leaders, goals and accomplishments. Though, like all things in life, it did come to an end, the resulting outcome has been labeled both a success and a failure. When Reconstruction began in 1865, a broken America had just finished fighting the Civil War. In all respects, Reconstruction was mainly just that. It was a time period of “putting back the pieces”, as people
As a country, America has gone though many political changes throughout her lifetime. Leaders have come and gone, all of them having different objectives and plans for the future. As history takes its course, though, most all of these “revolutionary movements” come to an end. One such movement was Reconstruction. Reconstruction was a time period in America consisting of many leaders, goals and accomplishments. Though, like all things in life, it did come to an end, the resulting outcome has been labeled both a success and a failure.
Reconstruction was needed and the period following the civil war, the reconstruction period, fostered many significant results and achievements especially for Constitutional amendments. While mending a broken country, the reconstruction period still left many fresh wounds. There was great successes and championships for former slaves and the blacks rights, but their was still lingering thoughts and acts of discrimination towards these groups. Reconstruction produced three amendments defending the people 's rights, yet discrimination towards blacks was peeking to new heights. Laws were not enough to change the hearts and minds of the people, which was at the core of the issue. With the unfortunate loss of the nation’s leader, it would be almost a hundred years later until America had leaders strong enough, in the nineteen sixties, that could change the ideas of racism and
Furthermore, despite the Federal government’s attempts to combat white vigilance, violence was still continuously used against African Americans. Although higher education was now available to African Americans with the opening of universities such as Howard and Fisk, many ex slaves remained uneducated and therefore maintained an inferior position in society. Like French political observer Tocqueville noted, although slavery no longer existed, ‘racial prejudice’ continued. This allows us to draw the conclusion that while the reconstruction period succeeded in aiding African Americans in the fight for civil rights, its goals were not full-filled.
William Mason Grosvenor believes that Reconstruction should be harsh. Grosvenor has two main arguments to support this belief, manifest destiny and the potential for the reoccurrence of a similar event to the war if Reconstruction was carried out in a lenient manner. Grosvenor argues that the country, pre-Civil War, was never truly a single unified country, but rather a group of peoples with vastly different values held together by a constitution which they had outgrown, saying, “[n]o chemical union had ever taken place; for that the white-hot crucible of civil war was found necessary.” Furthermore, Grosvenor believes that the succession of the South demonstrated this divide while simultaneously violating the doctrine of manifest destiny through
After the Civil War, the victorious Union enacted a policy of Reconstruction in the former Confederate states. Reconstruction was aimed at creating as smooth a transition as possible for the southern states to re-enter the Union as well as enacting economic and social changes. However, several factors brought about its failure, and as a result the consequences can be seen in the race problems we still have today. In 1862, President Lincoln had appointed temporary military governors to re-establish functional governments in occupied southern states. In order for a state to be allowed to re-enter the Union, it had to meet the criteria, which was established to be that at least 10 percent of the voting population polled in 1860 must denounce the Confederacy and swear allegiance to the Union again. However this was not good enough for Congress, which at the time was dominated by Radical Republicans who fervently called for social and economic change in the south, specifically the rights of blacks. They were especially concerned with guaranteeing black civil and voting rights, and criticized Lincoln for excluding this in the original plan for Reconstruction.
America has gone through many hardships and struggles since coming together as a nation involving war and changes in the political system. Many highly regarded leaders in America have come bestowing their own ideas and foundation to provide a better life for “Americans”, but no other war or political change is more infamous than the civil war and reconstruction. Reconstruction started in 1865 and ended in 1877 and still to date one of the most debated issues in American history on whether reconstruction was a failure or success as well as a contest over the memory, meaning, and ending of the war. According to, “Major Problems in American History” David W. Blight of Yale University and Steven Hahn of the University of Pennsylvania take different stances on the meaning of reconstruction, and what caused its demise. David W. Blight argues that reconstruction was a conflict between two solely significant, but incompatible objectives that “vied” for attention both reconciliation and emancipation. On the other hand Steven Hahn argues that former slaves and confederates were willing and prepared to fight for what they believed in “reflecting a long tradition of southern violence that had previously undergirded slavery” Hahn also believes that reconstruction ended when the North grew tired of the 16 year freedom conflict. Although many people are unsure, Hahn’s arguments presents a more favorable appeal from support from his argument oppose to Blight. The inevitable end of reconstruction was the North pulling federal troops from the south allowing white rule to reign again and proving time travel exist as freed Africans in the south again had their civil, political, and economical position oppressed.
Alongside the brutal, bloody Civil War and makeshift post-war reconstruction in the South were several monumental changes within the United States. As federal power increased, so did the power of the Constitution, as it began to expand and shift to encompass more and more people. With this also came a social change; millions of blacks, now freed by the thirteenth amendment, had the potential to be just as successful as their white brethren. As time went by, however, numerous pitfalls and opposing viewpoints challenged the idea of constitutional and social transformation. While there was a constitutional revolution occurring from 1860-1877, there was little to no social revolution happening at the same time.
...rian society of the mid-1800s changed with the rise of a modern city culture. Simple life styles became more complicated and cultured as the economy focused on a continual increase in production and an ever-widening distribution of manufactured goods. Family life, social and political culture, agriculture and industry were dramatically transformed, guiding in a new era of change. This relates to chapter 17 in the textbook, “Reconstruction.” During reconstruction, the South was brought back into the union but Republican hopes of having the South follow northern lines of development were never realized. Race relations and the comeback of conservative Democrats extremely limited African-American opportunities. The northern industrial continued by economic advances were less by corruption and the depression of 1873. The Compromise of 1877 ended the Reconstruction era.